Finding the perfect beach is hard especially when you live in such close proximity to so many great spots. Santa Cruz is known for it's beaches and they are one of the things I love about living here. Yet over the years and the thousands of trips to the beach 3rd Ave is still my favorite go to beach.
Third Ave has its own set of charms. Nestled between the Harbor Light House and the Board Walk it is the summation of all a Santa Cruz Beach should be. From the sand you can watch the sailboats sail by, you can hear the tourist screaming on the Giant Dipper. From this vantage point you can also see the other Santa Cruz Light House on a clear day. Pretty much the only thing missing from this quintessential Santa Cruz Beach is the surfers you might expect.
But never fear, there are often people skim boarding boogie boarding and if you are lucky you can see some surfers in the distance. There are also lifeguards standing guard in their little lifeguard stands which gives it that CA Baywatch vibe, but just subtly. There are also volleyball posts where you can either hook up your own net, or practice your tight rope walking as was the case this afternoon. There is never a lack of people to watch.
From the tight rope walkers to those practicing Poi (fire dancing) or working out their juggling skills. Plus the assortment of sunbathers, good and bad alike. Be warned often you will find one or men strutting about in a bright shiny speedo, not a good look. And while this is a family friendly beach there is often girls who have decided topless is the way to go.
All of this adds up to make Third Ave. a top pick beach in Santa Cruz. At least in my humble opinion.